U.S. dominance will shrink in the new multipolar world but the military is working to maintain its advantage, Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre said at the GeoInt Symposium here today.
"We’ve laid out detailed strategies and investment plans for preserving and growing key capabilities that make up our strongest advantages," Lettre said.
These include special operations forces, power projection, space capabilities, cyber defense and in intelligence collection and analysis.
Defense Intelligence Undergoing a Transformation
Defense intelligence is undergoing a transformation, Lettre said. The intelligence community will concentrate on global coverage, anti-access/area denial capabilities, counterterrorism and counterproliferation capabilities and protection from insider threats.
In addition, DoD must ensure the "intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities provide the warfighter with the ability needed and particularly that it is persistent, resilient and innovative," he said.
Lettre noted there will be two types of intelligence support for operations. First, he said, intelligence professionals must enhance their capabilities against terror groups in the Middle East, Africa and other areas of the world.
"Second, we must ensure that [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] capabilities are available to support potential conflicts against nations or peer competitors, including ones that might be fielding very capable anti-access/area denial capabilities," Lettre said.
DoD must fund enough ISR capabilities to cover the full range of conflict, he added.
Funding Space-Based Capabilities
It also must fund space-based capabilities and protect them, Lettre said. China has demonstrated the ability to shoot down satellites. Russian strategy calls for conflict in space.
This is expensive, but necessary, Lettre said, because many earthbound capabilities rely on information, whether generated in space or information that travels through space.
Lettre noted that while the intelligence community does a good job with fixed sites, it is less able in tracking mobile targets. Mobile missile launchers are a problem and only persistent geospatial intelligence will solve this, he said.
"We believe the future solution is an integrated overhead architecture, a system of multiple layers tightly linked with airborne systems," Lettre said.